Book Review: Loving What Is

Four Questions That Can Change Your Life, by Byron Katie with Stephen Mitchell

“If you aren’t completely comfortable in the world, do The Work.  That’s what every uncomfortable feeling is for—that’s what pain is for, what money is for, what everything in the world is for: your self-realization.  It’s all a mirror image of your own thinking.  Judge it, investigate it, turn it around, and set yourself free, if freedom is what you want.  It’s good that you experience anger, fear or sadness.  Sit down, identify the story, and do The Work.  Until you can see everything in the world as a friend, your Work is not done.”

Byron Katie offers a very specific process of inquiry that cuts through the story of suffering revealing the support and presence underlying the interpreted experiences we tell ourselves about;  her questions and what she calls The Work, allow people to penetrate through the stances and pain of separation right into peace, or joy, or love, clarity.

I am often looking to help people get a better sense of inquiry and how to engage with it, and Loving What Is is of great assistance.  A thorough process involving putting your mind on paper, or “judge your neighbor” (worksheet can be found on her website), elicits all the feelings, thoughts, shoulds and oughta’s we have in our story, and then, sentence by sentence, you do inquiry per her four questions and turnaround, and voila!   It’s really pretty ingenious and I recommend it.

Is it true?

Can you absolutely know that it’s true?

How do you react when you think that thought?

Who would you be without that thought?

The “turnaround” allows us to take the reflection back into ourselves, to own what we project and thereby free ourselves.  For example, the statement, “Paul doesn’t listen to me. ” is turned around three times (she recommends three): I don’t listen to Paul; I don’t listen to me; Paul listens to me.  You can’t get to the turnaround without the Work with the four questions though.  Familiarizing yourself with this process will enhance our Liberation Work.

Here is a link to a beautiful example of engaging in The Work with Byron Katie:
Being Gay Is Unnatural

Until we see everything in the world as The True Friend, our work isn’t done. ~Anrael

“I don’t let go of my concepts—I meet them with understanding and they let go of me…There is no thought or situation that you can’t put up against inquiry.  Every thought, every person, every apparent problem is here for the sake of your freedom.  When you experience anything as separate or unacceptable, inquiry can bring you back to the peace you felt before you believed that thought.”

-Byron Katie

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